Personal Luxuries | E-cquisitions

The e-store that started with a washbag

It’s the attention to detail that makes these accessories special

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The e-store that started with a washbag

September 04 2010
Dominic Lutyens

The inspiration behind the e-commerce site of young designer Otis Batterbee, who studied fashion at Central Saint Martins, was his quest for a half-decent washbag to pack for a holiday. “After seeing how few affordable, well-made ones there were out there, I realised there was a market waiting to be filled,” he says. “I wanted to avoid going down the route of manufacturing in China. Britain makes amazing fabrics and still has the know-how to make great products.”

Batterbee now proffers painstakingly crafted yet inexpensive, “youthful” men’s accessories. In fabrics ranging from pinstripe and hound’s-tooth checks to Liberty-style florals, these recall the Duke of Windsor’s chic but modern glamour. “Young guys into the dandy look buy our pocket squares and stuff them into the top pocket of a blazer teamed with battered Converse sneakers,” says Batterbee.

His striped or checked mint green, sky blue and pink handkerchiefs and squares cost £35, his navy, tan, olive and black waxed-canvas washbags enlivened by a grosgrain band (the navy comes with peacock blue) are £48, while his medium-size canvas, corduroy or tweed bags, lightly lavender-scented eye masks and playfully androgynous cuff links wrapped in Prince of Wales check or gingham fabrics are all £35.

Batterbee has an impeccable fashion pedigree: his great-grandfather’s textile-manufacturing business supplied Harrods and Hermès, and as a teenager he spent his summer holidays working with pattern-cutters and embroiderers. Today he is a stickler for detail: “I’m obsessed that something should look as good on the inside as on the outside. I drive the factories and suppliers mad but they get as much satisfaction as I do when we eventually create great products.” The finish and construction of his wares testify to this perfectionism.

First picture, Waxed Grand Tour olive washbag, £48; second picture, handkerchief set, £35; third picture, medium Classic Envelope in Prince of Wales check, £35.